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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AFLX: Fremantle Dockers star Nat Fyfe to miss tournament despite originally being named

Star midfielder Nat Fyfe has been pulled out of the AFLX debut less than a day after being named in the Fremantle Dockers' 20-man squad.
An AFL statement on Tuesday said the 2015 Brownlow medallist was being "managed" and will be replaced by recently-drafted midfielder Tom North for Thursday night's tournament in Adelaide.
“We reviewed Nat’s training data after yesterday’s training session and it was decided to manage his workload ahead of him playing in round one of the JLT Series,” Dockers football manager Chris Bond said.
Fyfe had been among a smattering of stars named for the league's new fast-paced event on Monday afternoon, with most teams opting for a youthful approach.
Robbie Gray, Steele Sidebottom and Tom Hawkins are among the bigger names to be selected for the tournament.
Michael Walters and Bradley Hill headline Fremantle’s squad.
It will be young talent time for West Coast at the event after the Eagles named a squad of first and second-year players to be led by Liam Duggan and Jackson Nelson.
Second-year hopefuls Willie Rioli and Daniel Venables were included and have chances to press claims for a JLT Community Series berth.
The Eagles will also take an early look at draftees Jarrod Brander, Ryan Burrows, Brayden Ainsworth, Jack Petruccelle and Hamish Brayshaw, who were included in a 15-man squad. Liam Ryan, who spent time away from the main group at training yesterday, was not selected.
Jaymie Graham, who will coach the Eagles in the seven-a-side rectangular format, said the focus for the club was to give the youngsters travel experience.
“We are going to be sending over a pretty young team. It is a great experience for young guys to go over and experience travel routine and build some chemistry together,” he said.
“There will be some spots up for grabs in the JLT, so it is a good opportunity for them to put their best foot forward.”
Graham said Duggan would be the team’s on-field leader.
“He will be one of our more experienced players and he has shown some great signs in his leadership, so it is a great opportunity,” Graham said.
West Coast’s first JLT Community Series match is against Port Adelaide at Leederville Oval on February 25.
“For Venables and the likes of Willie Rioli and guys who have had good pre-seasons, it is a great opportunity for them to put their best foot forward,” said Graham, who revealed the Eagles weren’t pressured by the AFL to pick big-name players for the new competition.
“We have got 40-odd guys on our list and we selected the guys who we thought were right from a physical point of view and we also wanted to give some guys opportunities. We have used AFLX as a training drill throughout pre-season.
“You get plenty of run. It is a game built for speed and you get to work on your footy skills, so it has been a good training drill.”